Increasingly congested motorways, rising oil prices and concerns about the environment and climate change, demand the optimisation of transport systems and transport processes. The book analyses the challanges and the opportunities in the Intermodal trasport sector

Abstract from chapter Intermodal Transport, Transport Regulation in Europe, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013

Increasingly congested motorways, rising oil prices and concerns about the environment and climate change, demand the optimisation of transport systems and transport processes. For all transport which needs to be carried out, a rational choice must be made for the most effective and efficient transport option. The framework conditions are in favour of intermodal transport operations, in which the most efficient transport options are used for the different legs of transport. A characteristic feature of intermodal transport is its use of standard loading units, which are carried by road as well as by rail or waterborne transport (sea, inland waterways).
This chapter will be focussed  on the regulatory framework, as there are particular concerns and challenges for this sector due to the fact that intermodal transport is the combination of several modes.

2. Main problems and challanges
In day to day practice intermodal solutions are a minority and promising innovative initiatives often fail. The main reasons, which can be tackled by supportive regulatory measures, are:
– integration of intermodal transport in logistics and supply chain solutions;
– agreement on roles, risks and responsabilities: successful intermodal;
– integrating funding in intermodal cost and financial models;
–  Providing service level agreements;
– Co-operation and co-ordination networks, capacities and time table.
These problems and challenges will be fully described as well as the implications.

3. Overview of legislative measures
Intermodal transport in the context of the seamless movement of goods from origin to destination by two or more modes is a growing component of the transport sector. In turn, governments are re-examing policies and legislative/regulatory frameworks to ensure that the provision and management of transportation networks and infrastructure are able to meet the needs of the future.
Varying levels of legislative and regulatory instruments are in place across Member States to encourage and implement intermodal activity. In 90’s these initiatives were encouraging intermodal transport by allowing increased loads and driving time. The policy objective behind the Commission’s action to promote freight intermodalism is shown in the Communication on “Intermodality and Intermodal Freight Transport in the European Union” COM(97)243 final of 29 May1997.
The intermodal vision of the Commission has been consistently expressed by basic policy documents, which includes also actions with regard to legislative and regulatory issues, starting with the White Paper on the Future Development of the Common Transport Policy of 1992 where the development of integrated transport systems was a priority and its revision dated 2006 with Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent – Mid-term review of the European Commission’s 2001 Transport White Paper COM/2006/0314 final. It was also a part of the Common Transport Policy Action Programme (1995-2000). The need to promote intermodalism is also highlighted and progress is assessed in the updated version of the Common Transport Policy rolling programme.
The Community has also shown its commitment to the promotion of intermodalism in transport through the legislation concerning the developmentof the Trans-European Networks, the promotion of combined transport, and the Framework Programme for RTD. Beside relevant legislation (and policy actions) the EC has also introcuded financial instruments to promote intermodal transport (e.g. PACT, Marco Polo).
These will be fully described.

4. Implementation
The developments of the sector will be analysed taken into consideration the implementations of the measures described in section 3.

5. Structures
The combination of different transport modes (e.g. a transport chian) is synonymus with increased complexity and a great number of players, which can involve sometimes as many as 25 different parties. This situation has also an impact on the key modal drivers and affect the modal choices of the operators.
The main domains governing intermodal transport management and the implication in the functionality of the sector will be fully explained.

6. Effects
The impact of the reforms will be considered in terms of effects on the intermodal transport development (freight market share) and socio-economic impact.

7. Conclusions
One of the main problem of legislation is that intermodalism is seen as a combination of different transport modes and not as a single one. This can be also noted from the EC web site, DG MOVE, where actions and strategies includes all transport modes, safety and security, intelligent transport systems, infrastructures, passengers rights, resaerch and innovation, urban tranport, but not intermodality and logistics. Notwithstanding, the actions taken to sustain intermodalism have already had a significant impact on the sector in Europe and that impact will continue to grow. This section will highlight the expected future scenario and draw some key considerations and recommendations for the sustainable development of the intermodal transport sector.